Blood Donation Reduces your Risk of Heart Disease and Cancer


Blood donation is a healthy habit that could save the life of patients and reduces your risk of heart disease and cancer because it removes excess iron causing free radical formation in the body.

Did you know that just three teaspoons of blood can save the life of a premature baby? The volume of blood donation is 370:400 ml is almost 7.5 percent of adult blood volume can be compensated in a short period of time.

Thousands of patients need the blood transfusion for surgical procedures, cancer, chronic anemia, heart and blood vessel disease, hemorrhage, bone marrow transplantation, thalassemic malignancy, and neonatal jaundice.

Approximately, 44,000 blood donations are needed every single day, with blood group ‘O’ as the type in high demand.

Blood donation takes less than one hour, but it can save lives. One percent of the donors have reported physical reactions like sweating, nausea, dizziness and low blood pressure, while 30 percent of them had experienced bruises, stiffness, hematomas and sore arm caused by the needle.

According to the American Red Cross,  the minimum requirement for an individual to donate blood is that the person should be at least 17 years of age weighing more than 110 pounds. An eligible donor can donate blood every two months.

The FDA has enforced very stringent regulatory policies to ensure that blood supply is highly safe. The donated blood is required to clear the tests for various infectious diseases such as Hepatitis B and C viruses, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Types 1 and 2, Human T-Lymphotropic Virus, Types I and II, Treponema pallidum  (Syphilis), West Nile Virus, and Trypanosoma cruzi (Chagas disease).

With regards to safety of the patients, the FDA does not allow men who have a sexual intercourse with other men to donate blood, because they are at an increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, which may infect the receiver on transfusion.

The automated blood collection system allows donors to donate only the specific components of blood needed for the patient. This system is highly beneficial in emergency room situations because it separates the required components, while returning the rest back to the circulatory system.

A study published earlier this year suggested that simple changes in blood donation awareness can have a profound impact on people and a positive attitude towards donating blood.  Researchers found that appealing to people by asking them ‘to help prevent death,’ rather than, ‘to help save a life,’ motivates people to donate blood with little reservation.

In order to avoid any adverse effects regarding health following blood donation, the Red Cross recommends that the donors include iron rich food in their diet and avoid fatty food, and platelet donors are not supposed to take any aspirin for two days before donation. Donors are advised to stay calm and relaxed during the process. After donating blood it is essential to drink at least four glasses of water and avoid heavy exercise for the remainder of the day.

While the most obvious health benefit of blood donation is giving something vital to those who need it, it is also a healthy habit that reduces your risk of cancer and heart disease because it can shed excess iron from the blood.

Written by: Janet Grace Ortigas

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